I'm going to agree that purchasing a crock pot and a microwave would be a good investment in terms of making nutritious food ahead of time. Almost every dish I can think of that's a "make ahead" dish really relies on being able to be re-heated, and it sounds like you really don't have much time for oven & stove reheating. Cold pasta and cold soup are yucky.
I make "quiche muffins", that are OK cold. I use a "crustless quiche" recipe, make them in a muffin pan, and depending on what I put in them (cheese or no cheese, how many egg whites), two of them make a fairly filling meal with the right number of calories, and high in protein. My guy eats three. I also use chopped tomatoes, spinach and/or broccoli, depending on what's about to turn in the fridge.
I would make a double batch & freeze most. Take the ones for the next day out of the freezer when you eat the ones for today. You should be able to scarf them while playing with the dog!
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"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar
A good rule of thumb is to always eat breakfast and try not to go longer than 5 waking hours without eating. I'm a Zone Health coach and have a varied extremely busy schedule much like yours. I aim for eating either 3 meals and 2 snacks a day or 6 mini meals when that fits my day better due to time constraints. A way to stay satisfied (no hunger) is to have a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat at each meal and snack, which means basically each time you eat.
Lost 100 pounds with the Zone 18 years ago and have kept it off!
You can see photos of my favorite meals and snacks here:
You've got many good suggestions. I know this may not be possible, due to finances, since you are going to school, which is expensive, but can you buy a small microwave for your home use? I have seen them for less than $50; that will help a lot with your hectic schedule.
Also, a crockpot can be a big help. You can make one large pot of soup or other food while you are working/going to school and then portion it up to use throughout the week, freezing some for later.
One of the things I often do is prepare the next days' lunch when I am cooking dinner. Sometimes it will simply be leftovers (sometimes can be eaten cold, depending what it is) or sometimes it wil be something specific, like if I'm cooking pasta, I might cook a little more and add it to salad ingredients. Breakfasts could be quite simple. I usually have a choice of three or four things (so I don't get bored with one thing) and these are always handy and rarely take more than a few minutes to prepare and eat. If you eat oats, you could pre-portion out enough portions for the week, then all you need to do in the morning is put it into a bowl, add milk and any fruit you want, shove in microwave for a couple of minutes and then eat. If you plan ahead you can see where you can make preparations for the next meal.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
Thank you guys for your help. I felt very much out of ideas. I will work on implementing some of these ideas this week and see how it goes.
AGILEDOBE- I am a dog trainer. I know how to handle my dog. She goes to a 'friend's' house when I work long days. The time I have between class and work is spent walking and playing with her. Whenever possible she comes to work with me. She has arthritis so she cannot handle the long days at work. But thank you for your concern.
I disagree with you - sandwiches CAN be very nutritious, it just depends on what bread and what fillings you put on them.
Here are some things you can do; butter some bread and take a little can of salmon or tuna or shredded chicken, plus some salads in a snap-lock bag. That way the protein stays good until you are ready to eat.
Take some string cheese.
Make a sandwich with them, and put some salads on it. The meat will thaw out during the day, and your sandwich will remain fresh.
Add a hard-boiled egg.
Sandwiches made with mashed banana and peanut butter are very healthy.
Take an apple, pear or banana with you - easily portable and no mess or prep.
Have some nuts/dried fruit in your pocket or drawer for nibbling on during the day.
Make some 'make-over' meat patties on your day off and freeze. I put pureed veges and some cooked lentils in them, too, and roll them in oat bran before frying in a spray of oil. They freeze well - just free-flow them to make it easier to grab one or two when frozen.
I always have a healthy very high fibre snack bar in my bag for emergencies. Sometimes I use them - sometimes I don't, but they are there if needed. You might like to look out for a healthy bar that can be filling.
Good luck, Kris
PS - looking at your roster has me wanting to crawl back to bed with fatigue - LOL!
if your sandwiches aren't up to snuff, make different sandwiches. if you usually do meat, cheese, condiments and two slices of bread, try adding spinach leaves or sliced onion/tomato for a boost. if you have time, make a loaf [vegetarian or meat with vegetables] and freeze in slices so that you can have a slight of that with some added sliced veggies as your sandwich. i have a general rule that anything that can be a salad can be tossed onto a wrap and rolled up as a much more portable, easy to eat salad. and nut butter is a great thing to make slices of fruit stick inside a wrap [and keeps fairy decently for a day or two]. hummus is great for getting veggies to stay in wraps or on sandwiches. roasted veggies are okay with a little cheese and a softer bread. if you tend to eat food cold, there are tons of things out there. gazpacho is a cold soup you could make up on friday. think of chicken/egg/tuna/potato salad. it's the protein of your choice mixed up with some chopped up veggies or fruit, some mayo that you can replace with greek yogurt and some spices. this is another one that's great to add spinach and a few more veggies to and have as a wrap. if you don't like it getting soggy, mix everything together but the mayo or yogurt on friday and add the wet the morning of [or pack it with if you prefer things really crisp and mix as you eat]. and if you open to the salad section of any vegetarian cookbook there will be eat least ten different grain salad recipes. most are meant to be eaten cold. but you basically cook up a grain, cook up some veggies chopped fairly small, then mix them both with some herbs, spices and olive oil. easy to do on friday or monday and will keep for a few days.and again, no need to heat. and easy to toss on a wrap if you want to.
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Fitness Minutes: (67,503)
2,737 10/30/13 3:02 P
FRIDAY: AM--light exercise such as walking for 30 minutes food prep for the week: bake a chicken, cook up some brown rice and/or other grain, make salads-in-a-jar*, do shopping and stock up on healthy portable foods such as yogurt and cottage cheese; wash/prep fruits and veggies for the week; make a pot of soup; slow roast a few sweet potatoes or other root veggies to have on hand. Many things can slow-cook while you study. PM--more intense exercise (Zumba, weights, running) for 60 minutes SATURDAY: walk for 30 minutes SUNDAY: Intense exercise 8:30-9:30 AM MONDAY: One hour of intense exercise, mid-day Double check to make sure you have enough food to cover meals Tuesday-Friday Do any additional cooking necessary. TUESDAY: exercise rest day WEDNESDAY: take a brisk 30-minute walk...get up early in the morning to do this if you have to...really, it will help you to focus and make you more efficient for the rest of the day THURSDAY: exercise rest day...take 15 minutes to make food plan/shopping list for subsequent week.
I have a microwave at work - so I try to bring something from home. My problem is finding the time to make something in a large quantity. It's more the breakfast and lunches that I have trouble with..
I will be a full-time student at least through next May. I'll have the summer off and then I plan on going back to school in the fall for my Master's Degree. By then I hope to be working in the AM and taking online or evening classes, but we'll see how that goes.
Wow, I'm worn out just looking at your schedule. Good for you for still committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle while you have so much going on.
Some suggestions: 1. You NEED to make health one of your priorities. That means sleep, exercise, food, and mental health breaks need to be a part of your routine. Don't give up on that. You'll pay for it in the long run. 2. You've given us a work and school schedule. Go ahead and make yourself a more comprehensive schedule. I have a google calendar that syncs with my phone. I schedule my workouts, food prep, meetings, and even date nights. If you have a schedule, you'll be more likely to follow through. For instance, you don't have anything scheduled for Friday, your day off. I would give yourself a little flexibility, but go ahead and commit to working out in the morning, shopping in the afternoon, cooking in the evening...put it in writing. 3. Make efficient choices. When you're going to work out, make it count. I suggest total body strength training and intervals of high intensity cardio. ST will build muscle and high intensity cardio will burn the most amount of calories in the shortest time. It's okay if you can only work out twice a week...just make those workouts count. 4. Your food choices will be a huge challenge. I would be sure to pack healthy snacks (make baggies of trail mix, fruit, nuts, carrots, hard boiled eggs, celery on your food prep day) and make wise choices when you're on the run. Select lean proteins and lots of veggies.
As you can probably guess by some of my previous posts this past month or two has been not-so-good for me. I have another question that I have been having trouble with for awhile and I haven't yet found a solution .. so here goes. I work 40+ hours per week and I am a full-time accounting student. I have very little time to sleep, let alone exercise or make food. I will put my schedule here and if you have any suggestions on how to get some exercise in or, most importantly right now, when I should eat, that would be helpful.
Sunday- Work 10a-8pm (I usually have a one hour break for eating and letting the dog out, so not too bad on Sunday) Monday - School 8:30a-12:30p then School 5:45pm-8:00pm (again, this day is kind of easy) Tuesday - School 8:30a-12:30p then Work from 2:00p-10:00p Wednesday- Same as Tuesday Thursday- Same as Tuesday and Wednesday Friday- Day off! This day is REALLY easy Saturday - This is the worst. I work from 8:30am-10:00pm. I take a one hour break around noon to go home and let the dog out, but usually end up eating in the car because I don't have time to make food. I also get one 30 minute break a few hours after I get back from letting the dog out.
My big issues are the timing of eating and finding time to make food. I promise I'm not just lazy. I've had this schedule since May and it doesn't get any easier. I usually grocery shop, food prep, and make meals in advance on Friday, but honestly I rarely have time to warm food to eat - I don't have a microwave :( Sandwiches work best, but they are not very nutritious.
Also, I know exercise is important, but with my schedule I'm lucky to workout Friday and Monday. I take the stairs whenever possible and there is a HUGE hill at school that I walk up twice every day and three times on Monday...
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